Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd – #48 – Borders in EQ8

Welcome to this month’s edition of Tips and Tutorials on the 22nd where we share our favorite quilting or sewing tips and tutes! Yes, this is the 21st, but Monday is the next reveal for Stay-At-Home-Round-Robin and I wanted to also post this tutorial for those who are playing along and for those who want to learn a little more about Electric Quilt! First, let’s check on last month’s linkups and then we will proceed to using borders to build a quilt around a center block!

Last Month’s Link Ups

Here are December’s links:

Borders and Electric Quilt 8

Let’s talk borders. First, I will give you some basics I like to consider when making borders and show you some examples. You don’t need EQ to understand most of this, and you can do it all on paper. For me, Electric Quilt lets me play a little faster once you understand a few things. There are a few basic types of borders: mitered, corner blocks, long vertical or horizontal, blocks, diamonds, points in or out. Here is a good explanation of them from EQ.

When you look at this menu it can be overwhelming. Figuring out what you need is sometimes confusing. For this tutorial, we will focus on ones I use a lot during the Stay at Home Round Robin.

Simple Border

Borders are one of the ways we do rounds in the Stay At Home Round Robin. Each week you add a border that goes all the way around. But, we can be more creative than that. Let’s look at a few options.

The first is a simple border that goes all the way around. You can do one fabric, or two fabrics (top and bottom and side and side OR top to side, and bottom to side, or even 4 fabrics. For SAHRR we usually are adding blocks, so we need a little more help here.

The second is a border with cornerstones. This is very simple, but we can make it more interesting by adding blocks to the border. So, this is good place to put your first round of blocks. But wait, there are plenty more options.

Blocks in the Border

This is where you need to think a little bit about your block. For demonstration purposes, mine is 12″ block – 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, and 12 are nice divisions for a 12″ blocks. This is how you begin to decide what you might like. And in some ways there are endless choices.

2 blocks in the border might work nicely as a 3″ x 6″ flying geese block. Our quilt is now 18″ square (12+3+3).

Let’s try 3 blocks in the border that are 4″ square. Now I have a quilt that is 20″ square (12+ 4 + 4).

Now we are doing 4 blocks in the border, 3″ x 3″, which will give us a quilt that is 18″ square (12 + 3 + 3).

And, here are two more options. One is made of six 2″ blocks in the border, finishing at 16″ square (12 + 2+ 2). The second option has twelve 1″ blocks in the border, finishing at 14″ square (12 + 1 + 1). OK…probably not what I am going to make but you get the point. We now have 5 options for the 12″ square adding blocks to the borders:

  1. 2 blocks @ 3″x 6″ ==> 18″ square quilt
  2. 3 blocks @ 4″ square ==> 20″ square quilt
  3. 4 blocks @ 3″ square ==> 18″ square quilt
  4. 6 blocks @ 2″ square ==> 16″ square quilt
  5. 12 blocks @ 1″ square ==> 14″ square quilt

I do like to keep in mind how my quilt is shaping up and what size I want to get to. It is good to keep that in mind as we do rounds in Stay At Home Round Robin. I am a fan of combining rounds and staying a bit smaller. But, lets get back to a few other options we have.

Half Blocks or Drop Blocks in the Border

There are so many options but these two can give you some other variations in a block.

Here is the 8″ block with half drop blocks. The top and bottom have 2 blocks and the sides have 3 blocks just to show you how it changes things a bit. The borders are the same width. I did the spacing blocks in beige so you could see them. Notice in the 2 block option (top and bottom) that the spacers are larger. The way this works in Electric Quilt is that it divides the length of the border by the number of blocks +1 (2+1=3 and 3+1=4) AND then extra block is split into 2 on either side of the border. So with an 8″ finished block, on the top and bottom rows you get 3 blocks at 2.6″ wide; but with one split into two blocks of 1.3″ wide. For the 3 blocks option; you get 4 blocks at 2″, but one is split into two 1″ blocks.

This is an example of spaced squares. You basically get a lattice spaced around each block. This border was 3″ with 2 blocks on each side. The nice thing about this option is that the blocks are often staggered between existing blocks – the seams don’t have to match up!

But there is more to understand about this whole process, lets talk about how we figure out what really looks good.

Dividing the Borders

SO how do you choose what to do? Begin by figuring out the divisions in a block.

On the right, is an 8″ block and has 4 divisions. It can be divided by 1, 2, 4, and 8 easily. I made an additional border with 4 blocks; it continues the design into the next frame. Maybe I loose some focus on the block, but I rather like the extending of the block into the next round.

I mistakenly thought this block was 16″. I made a sample at 12″ but in EQ, this block works up much better at 15″. The intersections of all the points meets something on the grid. Sometimes, it hard with a block that looks on point. The pink lines help you see this. Now, what are some good numbers for this? A 15″ block is divisible by 1, 3, and 5. I chose 5 blocks in the border, but only made 3 blocks for each border – using a plain one to give some space. Remember not all blocks have to be pieced to make a SAHRR! or your own medallion design.

And, just because we do have a lot of these in quilting, here is a 9″ nine patch block. You can divide the number 9 by 1, 3, 9. I chose 3 blocks in the border, and for now the cornerstones are empty.

And lastly, here is a more difficult block. The construction was not “pieced” so its lines are harder to decipher. It is an 8″ block, so usually 1, 2, 4 and 8 are its easy divisions. We can see splitting the block in half works. However, when we try to make sense of the other intersections it gets less clear. It works on a 16 grid, but that is a lot of divisions. This was made in a non-traditional way so it is less clear what to do. My border is made of 2 blocks on each side (a double flying geese block) and the cornerstone has been worked to continue the design. It is a 4″ wide border, so the flying geese blocks are 2 FG that finish at 2″ x 4″.

What Size Quilt Will This Be?

There are two ways I shape my quilts during the Stay at Home Round Robin. One is something I call coping strips. They can help make the math work, say you chose an 8″ block but want the next round to be worked on 12″ sides.

Here I added 2″ coping strips. Now my block is 12″. The sole purpose is to make adding your next round easier.

Is it all a little busy with all these blocks? Add coping strips to give your eyes a place to rest. Here I added 1″ strips between each round of 3″ borders. My quilt has 2 rounds of 3″ each borders/blocks; which will now give me a 24″ square quilt (8 + 2 + 6 + 2 + 6 = 24).

And sometimes I want a quilt to be wider or longer – depending on what shape I am going for. I want this same quilt to be a rectangle. I added a top and bottom border, but not a side borders.

Here’s what the screen looks like for that border. I also added another 4″ border so you could see what happens. Now the quilt is 32″ x 40″.

Remember it is your quilt. If you don’t like symmetry, many of these suggestions won’t work for you. BUT, if you are curious as to how to make this SAHRR or medallion thing work, I hope this helped. My apologies that I did not get to make a video. I promise to do one and will post it separately, but also add the link in here when I do.

Join the Linky Party!

Now it’s your turn to post, and the rules are simple – write up a tip or group of tips or a tutorial that is quilting or sewing-related and link that post below. The linky party is open from 12:01 am on the 21st (only this month), through midnight on 31st. The post does not have to be new but should be one that hasn’t been linked to Tips and Tutorials in the past. If you don’t have a blog, please send it to me ( and I will post your tip or tutorial for you!

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter

Past Tips and Tutorials

In case you didn’t know, if you have missed some past #TTot22, you can check them out in the tab at the top of my page or on my Pinterest board.

Coming Up on My Blog

SAHRR Round 1 – 1/22/24
SAHRR Round 2 – 1/29/24
SAHRR Round 3 – 2/5/24
It Moose Be Love – 2/19/24
Diatom  Finish
Sea Glass Joy 

Linking Up

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  1. lynn bourgeois
    January 21, 2024 / 6:35 AM

    Good moning Kathleen. I have always been confused by EQ, and still am. I know it is a valuable program, but somehow my brain doesn’t get it. Thanks so much for your discussion and examples of how one might approach borders for the SAHRR. I was wondering how ,as a first timer, I would make this work in a way that the finished quilt would be something I really liked. I don’t think math is one of my strong suits.. I’ll read this post a few more times and hopefully absorb more and more. Lynn

  2. January 21, 2024 / 8:41 AM

    This is really helpful, Kathleen. The math for adding borders can be so confusing!

  3. January 21, 2024 / 1:01 PM

    Such excellent instructions here Kathleen. Thank you for taking the time to write this all up and include so many pictures to clarify everything. Last year was my first SAHRR and I never thought to try stuff out in EQ, just designed on the fly on the design wall, which was fun too and worked just fine. However, to see other possibilities, (endless ones lol) EQ is perfect.

  4. January 21, 2024 / 1:30 PM

    Hi Kathleen! WOWEE! This is a great tutorial. I honestly didn’t use EQ8 for the SAHRR but now I wonder why the heck I didn’t use it. Good grief. I do need to use the software more often. It is great for lots of reasons. {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  5. January 22, 2024 / 12:02 AM

    Great explanation and tutorial; I’m sure this will be something that many EQ8 users come to use time and again!

  6. quiltinglearningcombo
    January 24, 2024 / 11:41 PM

    Hi Kathleen, quilting math is pretty much out of my league which is why I either wing it or just make art quilts :-) Thanks for the party.

  7. January 27, 2024 / 2:51 PM

    Such a valuable design tool, Kathleen. Thanks for sharing your process with the program.

  8. Betty Cruikshank
    February 19, 2024 / 10:32 AM

    That is a nice addition to your quilt.

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